Exterior colors and finish actually form the first step
While boats are constructed by layering FRP cloth and mat on top of female molds, the first step of the entire shipbuilding process actually involves the exterior paint.
Spraying the final coat of paint over the completed boat structure would make the task of repairs and re-painting much easier. The “gelcoat” paint that is used to protect the paint of the hull surface from constant contact with sea water and direct sunlight is a delicate material that needs to be prepared carefully to suit the temperature and humidity. This first step in constructing the boat is so vital that there is no turning back once work begins.
Application of gelcoat begins after applying a parting agent to the mold.
Applying the gelcoat too thin will result in an almost transparent FRP surface, while applying it too thick causes paint to drip—achieving just the right thickness is a highly skilled technique.
In addition to the concentration of the gelcoat, the condition of its surface is also affected by the temperature and humidity on the day it is applied. Spray testing helps to check the volume applied by the spray gun, while the application width and speed are adjusted to suit the conditions on that particular day.
Spraying over uneven shapes in the mold is an especially difficult process. This requires the seasoned skills of a specialist that no manual can replicate, and is a vital process for creating a stunning looking boat that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Areas that are protruding out on the final product are actually indented in on the mold.
Painting mistakes are most obvious in these indented areas. Not only is it tricky to spray evenly into these areas, paint also tends to collect here, often resulting in drips forming.
These indented areas are examined from multiple angles to quickly determine the best approach to spray from. Spraying also needs to be performed in a continuous motion otherwise areas that are sprayed first dry out, making it a very demanding process.
Highly skilled specialists move in a rhythmical motion without even pausing—a mesmerizing display that is akin to a ballet performance.
Specialists rely solely on their own eyes and senses for this exacting process.